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Top 10 Habits of Ineffective Leaders

Updated on June 6, 2018
Patrick Patrick profile image

Patrick Patrick just recently started posting articles on Hubpages.

Qualities of an ineffective leader



Employees, both temporary and permanent, have the potential to influence positive change within an organization. As a result, a good number of organizations have been investing time and money towards training and instilling an innovative culture in their employees. However, there are many cases in which various ineffective leadership habits negatively affects employees' engagement and performance while dismantling such culture. Here, we look at some of the poor leadership habits that negatively affect employees.

Habits to avoid or stop


Within any pool of employees, there tends to be a few who are not only ambitious and self-driven but also possess excellent skills that can significantly benefit the company. However, for a good number of leaders, such employees represent a threat to their position. For this reason, their efforts, vision for the organization and work ethic are never fully recognized or appreciated as they should. In such cases, these employees are likely to be passed up for promotion or only passively be recognized for their contributions. This, in turn, affects employee's performance and engagement at the workplace since their efforts go unappreciated.


In some cases, leaders are caught up in their own ego, which in turn affects how they interact with employees. Because of their huge ego, such leaders are not only likely to ignore good ideas presented by employees, but also "punish" employees who appear to be challenging their decisions and actions. Given that egotistical leaders are highly likely to be autocratic leaders; their attitudes tend to destroy the vision and ambition of employees given since they barely get an opportunity to share their ideas.


Some leaders suffer from the "tall poppy syndrome" which ultimately kills employee's ambition and performance. Whether intentional or unintentional, some leaders tend to belittle the efforts, views and work ethic of employees, which in turn affects their motivation. Because of their position, these leaders are likely to shut down any views from the employees because of their inflated pride and ego, which in turn affects employee engagement, ambition, and performance over time.


Either due to their ego, pride or simply because they find little value in employees' ideas, some leaders tend to isolate themselves thereby having very little to no connection with employees. As a result, employees feel like they are shut out of and incapable of effectively sharing their views and idea that may benefit the organization. This may cause employees to feel belittled and unappreciated thus affecting their vision, ambition and ultimately performance in the workplace.

Thumbs down to poor leadership


Additional ineffective habits


Busywork tends to keep workers fully occupied, but has very little value. Leaders who emphasize on busywork or engage in the same are less likely to be sufficiently flexible to listen to new and better ideas that may prove more efficient. In the long run, this tends to demoralize employees given that they end up feeling like machines or part of machines that are simply expected to continue performing given monotonous tasks. This also has a negative impact in that it does not foster an innovative culture within the organization.

Poor communication

Good communication within an organization ensures that leaders and employees remain in contact throughout. This ensures that ideas flow smoothly back and forth between leaders and employees. However, poor communication does the direct opposite as leaders isolate themselves from the employees. This not only limits engagement and employee participation but also causes suspense and uncertainty on the part of the employee. Ultimately, this destroys their ambition and performance given that they are left feeling like outsiders in the very organization they work for.

Breaking promises

Within an organization, consistently breaking promises creates a culture of distrust where employees are always doubtful of any promises made by the leader (s). From past experience of broken promises, employees are incapable of believing any promises made and gradually lose any motivation to perform since any effort to do so is less likely to be recognized and rewarded. A culture of distrust will also ultimately affect work ethic as employees lose their motivation.

Habits to stop and avoid


Gossiping is a bad and potentially dangerous habit that can affect employee engagement, self-esteem, ambition and performance. Gossiping can result in rumors being spread around the workplace, which would not only hurt the reputation of given employees but also negatively affect their performance by affecting their concentration and destroying morale. Gossiping also creates a culture of distrust at the workplace given that employees can no longer trust their fellow employees are leaders who fail to stop the habit. Gossiping is, therefore, one of the most damaging habits that can exist in any given organization.

Withholding information

For the most part, withholding information has similar effects as isolation and poor communication. In such an environment, employees are left in the dark concerning important decisions, activities, and events in the company, which in turn creates a culture of distrust with employees becoming increasingly suspicious of any decisions being made. The other important aspect of withholding information is that it can cause rumors of what the leaders may be planning to start spreading, which can, in turn, affect their ambition and thus performance. Here, unfounded rumors cause suspicion and tension, creating an environment in which employees are incapable of focusing and fully concentrating on their work.


Hypocrite leaders are often in the habit of pretending to be what they are not, which places their morals in question. As a result, they cannot be trusted. Because such leaders say or suggest one thing only to do the contrary, employees can grow weary of their promises, which can ultimately create a culture of distrust in the organization. In such cases, employees are also likely to lose any respect and faith they may have had in the leaders and the organization in general. Consequently, they are less likely to put any effort in the work, which would negatively affect performance in general.

© 2018 Patrick


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    • Patrick Patrick profile imageAUTHOR


      14 months ago from Nairobi

      Very true DredCuan

      Some businesses can greatly benefit from treating their workers better- As part of the companies future.But sadly they view themselves as too superior to allow workers to make real constitutions, which causes the business to remain stagnant for years.

    • dredcuan profile image

      Dred Cuan 

      14 months ago from California

      Based on my experience, I've only knew few effective leaders in the corporate world. Mostly, they are ineffective leaders who feel very superior than their people. Sad thing is that they don't even realized that the success in their career is based on their people's performances and not just their knowledge or talents. At least as soon as they came up with that realization, they could value their subordinates as they will be able to consider the latter as their company's assets.


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